Liz Smith
Actor Liz Smith died on Christmas eve, aged 95 Ian Waldie/Getty Images

Veteran British actress Liz Smith - best known for her roles as "Nana" in the hit comedy the Royle Family and Mrs Cropley in the Vicar of Dibley - died on Christmas Eve aged 95, a spokeswoman confirmed on Monday.

Born Betty Gleadle on December 11, 1921, in Scunthorpe, Smith was better known by her stage name. She began her acting career in 1970, appearing in shows like Emmerdale and Last of the Summer Wine.

She won roles in 2point4 Children and Lark Rise to Candleford, and was the voice of Mrs Mulch in Wallace and Gromit's The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

She went onto play Mrs Cropley in the Vicar of Dibley alongside Dawn French.

Smith won a BAFTA Award for her performance opposite Michael Palin and Dame Maggie Smith in the bawdy 1984 comedy A Private Function and was awarded an MBE in the 2009 New Year's Honours list. She recently celebrated her 95th birthday.

In July this year her Royal Family co-star Caroline Aherne died after a long battle with lung cancer.

As news of her death broke on Monday night, fans and friends paid tribute to the popular actress.

Royle Family co-star Ralf Little tweeted "goodbye Nana", saying that he was devastated to have lost two members of his "second family" in one year.